Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The book of Esther

Today I had the opportunity to sit outside with some rare peace and quiet and read my Bible.  The last time that I had been studying, I had started the book of Esther and today I decided to finish it up.  I only had a few chapters left, but there is so much to learn from this book that it took me a little bit of time to finish it.  I thought I would share a few of the lessons that I learned while studying this morning.

1.  A sense of self importance, arrogance and need for power and money is a destructive way to be.  One of the important characters in the book of Esther is Haman.  He was made the most powerful person under King Xerxes and had much power, money and recognition.  He did not use his power, authority or riches for good.  He NEEDED recognition and wanted everyone to bow down to him and fear him.  He did not like the Jews and especially Mordecai(Esther's uncle and father figure).  He was angry that Mordecai would not bow down to him and he planned to have all of the Jews killed in retaliation.  His sense of self importance and his arrogance was the beginning of the end for him.  I find that sometimes I focus on things that I do not have or things I cannot afford.  I would love to have a new house, I would love to have a new car, I wish we made more money so we could make improvements on our home.  I sometimes forget to be thankful for what I DO have and I forget that "things" are not what this life is about.  I not only see this happening in my own life, I see it in others as well.  I know many people that go into debt buying a car they want even though they can't really afford it or don't really need it.  I see couples with children who both work full time to afford a house that they don't really need instead of choosing to live simpler so that one can be home with the children.  Keeping up with the Joneses has become an epidemic.  It is not my place to pass judgment on these people and I love them no matter what they may decide to do.  Part of loving like God loves is to meet people where they are.  To love them no matter what their choices may be and showing God's love by our own actions and lifestyles.  I have found myself praying many nights that God help me control my covetous attitude.  Over time I have seen what a giving spirit and loving attitude can give in return.  I have seen God bless my family when we give selflessly our time our money or our goods.  Haman in this story is a good reminder that the need for power, money, and recognition is not the way God wants us to live.

2.  God will bless those who pray according to His will.  Queen Esther found out through Mordecai about Haman's plan to kill the Jews.  She told Mordecai to have all of the Jews fast and pray for three days and at the end of the third day she would approach the King even though it could mean that she would lose her life.  Many Jews spent days praying and fasting on Esther's behalf.  On the third day, Esther went before the king and was shown mercy.  She was able to bravely ask the King for a chance to speak.  She was able to finally disclose to the King her heritage.  She was able to show the King what Haman's plan was.  She was able to save her people from the decree(of death) that Haman had ordered before his own death.  God used her to save thousands and he blessed the Jews for being faithful servants who prayed and trusted in Him.  The Jews were able to eventually beat their enemies and turn many others into Jews into the process.  How wonderful it is to be blessed for your faithfulness to Him!!!  Here are some verses that reinforce this lesson:

1 John 5:14~
 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

Matthew 18:19-20~
19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Esther was such an incredibly brave woman who wanted to serve the Lord.  I am inspired by her and her faithfulness.  I pray that when trials and tribulations come my way that I am able to stand firm in what I believe.  I want to be able to speak with love and respect so that others may see Christ through me even though they may not agree with me.

I urge everyone to take some time to study the book of Esther and see what it means to you and your life.  I know that everyone can use the encouragement that this book offers.

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